Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are competing for influence among the Senate’s 12 Republican freshmen, with the outcome potentially shaping the agenda for 2015 and beyond.
Cruz has reached out to freshman Republicans, whom he helped in last year’s elections, in hopes they will join his effort to pressure Republican leaders to pursue what he calls a “bold agenda.”
“We should follow through on our commitment to provide big, bold positive ideas responding to the very real economic hardship that so many millions of Americans are feeling,” he said.
Cruz said he has targeted that message to the new freshman class, which comprises more than a fifth of the GOP’s 54-member majority.
“What I have encouraged everyone of them to do is to urge all of us to honor our commitments. What I’ve urged everyone of them to do is answer questions in January the same way you would have answered them in October on the campaign trail,” he said.
Outside groups, such as the Senate Conservatives Fund have pushed a similar message. They want Senate Republicans to follow through on their rhetoric from the campaign trail by making forceful pushes to repeal ObamaCare and defund the president’s executive order stopping deportations of illegal immigrants.
McConnell, for his part, has consistently told colleagues — freshmen and more seasoned members alike — that the only way they can have an impact is by getting legislation to President Obama’s desk. That means pushing proposals on jobs and the economy that can win Democratic support.